4 Player Pool Games That You’ll Actually Enjoy

Pool, this game doesn’t really need an introduction, and if you’re reading this article, we assume you already know the basics and have some sort of playing experience. Pool is usually played by two or four people if they are playing a team-based match. These types of games are primarily seen in pubs or cafes.

But there is always a question of how many players each game can accommodate. The truth is you can play alone or with any number of even players up to four, without a hitch!

There are many versions of four-player pool games- Eight balls, nine-ball, the lesser-known three-ball, one pocket, and the bank pool. Although each of them is played by the same apparatus, they have a completely different set of rules, fouls, and ways you can play them. 

We have focused on four-player versions of these games and have covered how you can mold the rules accordingly to the number of players.

This article will discuss three such games in detail with rules and their dos and don’ts.

Starting A Pool Game for Four Players

Four Players Playing Pool

Each of the parties can either do a single or a dual toss. If they agree to a single toss, the player having the lesser distance from the D cushion will be the first to play. In case they agree to a dual toss, both players’ aggregate distance will be the deciding factor. Whoever has a lesser space will be the first one to play.

1. Eight-ball

Eight-ball is the most common and iconic game in pool. It is also sometimes called ‘Stripes and Solids’ because of the role that stripe and solid-colored balls play in this game. Sometimes it is confusing, and even the local players don’t know that they’re playing an Eight-ball pool. 

In the Eight-ball pool, half of the balls are stripes, and half are solids. It is played with a smaller size cue stick and has sixteen balls in total. The solid balls are numbered from 1 to 8, while the rest are labeled as stripes.

The number 8 is a solid black colored black ball and is also commonly known as the black ball. The cue ball is usually white. Ball 1 and 9 are colored yellow, 2 and 10 are colored blue, 4 and 12 are purple, 5 and 13 are orange, 6 and 14 are green, and 7 and 15 are maroon.

Scoring

The player has to hit two balls from the same set consecutively to secure a ball set for himself. If he cannot pot two balls from the same set, the opponent tries to secure his ball by potting two balls. 

Suppose even the opponent cannot secure a set for himself, but he has hit one ball from one set different from the first player. In that case, both will have a score from the set they were able to hit the first time.

If the opponent hits a ball from the same set as the breaker did but cannot secure that set, the turn will shift back to the first player to ensure his ball set.

The whole purpose of the game is to pot eight balls. Therefore, there is no proper scoring in the real sense of the word.

How To Play

The first step is to place the balls in a triangular rack for their proper shape. They are set so that one ball is at the foot of the triangle and the whole rack is parallel to the bottom rail where the player breaks the table.

All the balls are in tight contact with one another. To toss one person flips a coin or agree on any other method like hitting the cue ball to the top rail. Whoever has the shortest distance from the lower rail after the collision gets to play the first shot.

The player who gets to break the table has to pick one set from the two. He either goes for solids or stripes.

Rules

In case a person is not able to break the balls correctly, the opponent has the option to re-rack the balls or continue playing. An improper break is when four or more balls hit the cushion. 

If the 8th ball is accidentally pot, the breaker can either take out the ball or place it anywhere on the table. He can also replay the rack.

A player will keep taking consecutive turns if he keeps on potting balls from his set. If a player plays a foul, the turn is shifted to the opponents. Player wins after pocketing the 8th ball after potting the rest of the balls from his set.

Fouls

It is a foul when a player is unable to hit any ball or has both feet off from the floor and then hits a ball. Pocketing the cue ball is not allowed by any means.

Furthermore, the cue ball should be struck only once, and it should remain on the table. If the ball flies off the table or is accidentally touched, it is considered a foul. It is also a foul when a player plays out of his turn.

2. Nine-ball

A Nine-ball game is utterly different from Eight-ball. It is played with ten balls, and unlike Eight-ball, where you must pot the 8th ball after potting all the balls from your set, in Nine-ball, you can pot any ball anytime.

There are many iterations of this game. Surprisingly, there is a nine-ball poker game as well. But it is not played commonly and is only a thing of casinos.

Scoring

The player has to pocket the balls with smaller numbers first, and the 9th ball can, however, be potted at any time. The player who pockets the 9th ball first is declared the winner. Keep on reading the next sections to understand the scoring better.

How To Play

The table is set with a total of ten balls and is played with a traditional cue stick. Balls are racked in a diamond-shaped placement with the help of a diamond rack. Colors don’t matter much in this game!

A player tosses the same way as they do in the Eight-ball, and if they are playing in a team, the number of tosses is doubled to form an aggregate. The player to win the toss breaks the table.

Rules

It is a very open-ended game, and any ball can be potted at any time. Unlike the Eight-ball pool, the Nine-ball pool has no restriction on being potted at last.

When a player breaks the table, the ball with the lowest number should be touched by the cue ball. The game’s purpose is to pot the 9th ball, so when the player breaks with the lowest number, he calls for a push out.

A push-out means that the breaker can play the shot in any way he wants without being considered a foul.

If the ball goes out at this moment, it is still considered a foul even during the push out. In case the player cannot touch the ball with the lowest number, the opponent can call for a push out.

Fouls

It is a foul when the 9th ball or any other ball is knocked off the table. You cannot pocket the cue ball alone or along with any other ball. It is considered a penalty when a ball potted was the 9th ball with the cue ball, or there are three consecutive shots in a foul. In this case, the opponent is declared as the winner.

3. Three-ball

For a three-ball pool, there are no specific set of rules. It is more like a get-together game than a traditional competitive match. It is best played to kill time when you are with your friends. There isn’t anything special about the three-ball game except for the fact that it is an easy to set up and fast to play game.

Scoring

The player who scores all three balls in the fewest number of shots possible gets the point. The player can also take advantage of penalty points in case of a foul but make sure that other players are okay with it before the game begins.

How To Play

It may be a different game, but there’s nothing much to stress over here. The table is set with only three balls, as the name suggests. The balls are placed in a triangular rack. And can be played with any size of cue stick. A smaller size table is preferred for this type of game, but not mandatory.

Rules

The primary rule is to try and pocket the three balls in as few shots as possible. A player doesn’t win even if he pots all the balls in one turn; he has to let the other opponent take his turn first to decide whether it would be a draw or a win. 

After the first player or two players, in case of a team match, are finished with their turns, the opponent comes forward to take his break. The player or team that bags the balls in the least number of shots wins.

Fouls

It is a foul when a player pockets the cue balls or knocks off a ball or when shots jump. It is also considered a foul if both the cue balls and the object ball are pocketed at once. You should learn some basic spin shots to prevent that from happening.

Conclusion

The pool game has variations, and many of them are based on regions. For example, the Eight-ball pool and Nine-ball pool differ significantly in the US and the UK. In this article, we have discussed three such games that are fun to play, especially when playing in teams.

The most played game is the Nine-ball pool with a very detailed set of rules, while the Three-ball pool is something that you will play at a party to kill some time. You can even make your own rules!

If any player quits when you’re still in the mood for some gaming, consider checking out these three-player pool games. They offer just as much fun and competition as a regular four-player game would!

Daniel Bouie - SportsDean
Daniel Bouie
Daniel Bouie has been playing and helping others learn the ins and outs of pool for eight years. His profound love for the game inspired him to become a qualified billiard instructor in 2015. He frequently practices in his spare time and teaches private lessons to novice and intermediate players.

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